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From failure to fortune – Manchester’s Castore rises to the top

When it comes to the premium sportswear industry, there are few brands who have made it big. For decades, Adidas and Nike have held the monopoly - and competitors haven’t come close. That’s until Castore entered the scene.

The premium sportswear brand was a double winner – taking home the overall fastest growing business and large business of the year awards – at this year’s Ward Hadaway North West Fastest 50.

Held in partnership with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 awards celebrate the North West business community’s growth, excellence and innovation. Alongside Ward Hadaway’s Nick Wells, we speak to one of Castore’s founders, Tom Beahon, about the brand’s path to success.

“I had a strong sense that I’d failed at football,” recalls Tom after being let go by Tranmere Rovers at 22 years old. “I had dedicated my life to it, and it hadn’t worked out. I decided that whatever I did next, I was not going to fail. Phil, my brother, had a similar experience with cricket and you could say that when these worlds closed the door on us, it fuelled our ambition to make a business idea a reality and ensure it was a success. We spent countless hours brainstorming ideas and knew we wanted to create something we were passionate about – sports. Over time, the concept of Castore began to take shape and we set out our ambition: to create a British alternative to global brands like Nike and Adidas.”

The birth of Castore

The journey has been anything but easy. Without a background in design or branding, the Merseyside-born brothers faced a steep learning curve. Both working full time in finance roles when the idea of Castore got off the ground in 2016, they spent their lunchtimes meeting with website designers and product developers, using their salaries to fund the beginning of the brand. Each step, no matter how small, was a move towards their ultimate goal.

From quality issues and finding the right production partners to scepticism from investors – Tom and Phil have encountered it all – but eventually, their first products were produced through a supplier in Portugal.

Growth differentiators

“That first order was a pivotal moment,” says Tom. “It was the evidence we needed that maybe, just maybe, this could work. A key driver behind our success is to ensure that we bring something different to the well-established giants of sportswear – something we can offer that the others simply can’t. We not only innovate in product design but also in how we engage with our consumers. Our direct-to-consumer model gives us a huge edge – we get feedback far more quickly, can be more agile and have more data on what consumers like and dislike. When you listen to customers and react to what they are telling you, you stay ahead.”

The other key differentiator in Castore’s rapid growth is how the brand has identified a significant opportunity in the market for team sports, where many clubs felt neglected by the industry giants. Castore has positioned itself as the premium alternative, offering a level of service and attention that other brands can’t match. As a result, it’s secured over 75 lucrative partnerships worldwide with a wide range of high-profile sports clubs. From football teams Everton, Athletic Bilbao and Bayer Leverkusen to England’s cricket team, Formula One’s Red Bull and McLaren to individual sports stars such as Andy Murray, such collaborations have achieved unparalleled brand visibility.

Stuart Puddy, Investment Director at Castore, celebrating the double award win at the North West Fastest 50

Tom says: “The sheer volume of eyeballs watching our athletes compete on a global stage, wearing our products, has been invaluable. It’s brand awareness and authority that’s hard to replicate.”

And this is why, today, Castore is a global brand with a valuation of over a billion pounds and a headcount of 500 employees. Looking ahead, the Beahon brothers plan to continue expanding internationally, with a particular focus on the US market. They are exploring new partnerships and investing in infrastructure to support their growing business.

Commenting on their success, Nick Wells, a partner at Ward Hadaway said: “Castore’s rapid growth and recognition at the Fastest 50 awards are a testament to their innovative approach and relentless drive. Their ability to disrupt the sportswear industry speaks volumes about their strategic vision and execution. They are a credit to the North West, showcasing the region’s strength in nurturing entrepreneurial talent and achieving global success. Huge congratulations to the team on their double award win.”

Despite their rapid success, the Beahon brothers remain grounded. “We’ve always believed in the power of passion and hard work and we’re just getting started,” adds Tom. “Balancing growth with ensuring our brand doesn’t lose its unique identity is our biggest challenge and an opportunity. Our background in sports instilled in us the resilience and drive to compete at the highest level and these values are at the core of everything we do at Castore. Sharing a stage with giants like Adidas and Nike is an incredible achievement but it’s our persistent pursuit of excellence, innovation and pushing the boundaries of what we do that will keep us there.”


Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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